Factors Influencing Hunter Satisfaction of Special-opportunity Spring Turkey Hunts in Florida

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission initiated “Special-opportunity Turkey Hunts” (SOTHs) on select wildlife management areas with the 1997 spring season. Participants of these fee-based, public Florida wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo osceola) hunts completed satisfaction surveys each year from 1998-2006. We analyzed survey responses to identify factors that influenced satisfaction with the SOTH program and to determine how harvest indices related to satisfaction. Factors related to perceptions of hunter crowding, encounters with other hunters, and opinions on the amount and quality of turkeys available to harvest were the most important factors affecting satisfaction and likely relate to a hunter's perception of his or her likelihood of harvesting a turkey. The harvest index (average hunter-days per turkey harvested for each SOTH) was negatively related to participant satisfaction and regression analysis indicated that probability of an individual hunter being satisfied was ≥90% when the harvest index was at or below 18 hunter-days per turkey harvested. Our results suggest that high satisfaction during fee-based hunts can be attained with modest harvest success rates when perceptions of hunter crowding are minimized and turkeys are seen.

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